US must condemn continuance of war
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2012 16:05
Last week, Congress quietly decided to continue the war in Afghanistan indefinitely. By a vote of 303-113, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 was rejected. It would have limited funding of the war, leading to the safe and orderly withdrawal of the American military. Seventy-nine Democrats and 224 Republicans feel that what we are doing in Afghanistan is so valuable that it is worth the deaths of an average of six American soldiers a week. According to an Associated Press poll, only 27 percent of Americans still support the war in Afghanistan, while 66 percent oppose it. If the majority of the American people are opposed to the war, why is it that there was not one major rally held in protest? Why were no videos or calls to action made viral on the Internet? Why didn’t any Hollywood celebrities use their pulpit to raise awareness on this subject?
The reason is simple: This war, just like the war in Iraq, is not real to the majority of the American people.
Sure, most Americans might “oppose” it when asked, but what have they actually done about it? We are fighting an enemy a century behind us culturally and technologically, yet this fight has taken twice as long as it took to defeat Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Hideki Tojo’s imperial Japan concurrently during World War II. During every war prior to those launched by the George W. Bush administration, we had either a responsible government, a responsible populace or, on some occasions, both. I would argue that now, we have neither.
In the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, America didn’t go to war – its military did. Previously during wartime, taxes were raised to cover the costs. Everyday goods such as gasoline, tires, sugar and butter were rationed. There was a draft. Every man, woman and child in the country made sacrifices, and because of these sacrifices every American had an interest in the war ending as soon as possible. Furthermore, the youth, most notably during the Vietnam War, organized anti-war protests. This was not the case for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. American families are no longer subjected to higher taxes or rationing. Instead, they’re slapping “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers on their cars. The youth of America is no longer forming anti-war protests by the thousands because they no longer have to fear being drafted.
It’s time for the rest of America to get in this fight. Less than 1 percent of the population is currently serving in the military, and many of these soldiers have been deployed multiple times — each time risking life, limb and sanity. Our military is exhausted, our debt is ever increasing due to the bloated defense budget and suicide rates among veterans are skyrocketing. It’s time to bring our troops home, and that’s not going to happen unless we the people demand it.
Starting this Memorial Day, let’s bring our focus back to where it belongs. Let’s concentrate on the issues that are a matter of life and death. We need to organize protests and marches calling on the immediate departure of our troops from Afghanistan. We need to contact our representatives and demand that they end this war. We need to let President Barack Obama know that this is what Alan Grayson described as a “dumb war” and a “rash war,” and that the current plan for withdrawal is not acceptable.
Otherwise, maybe it’s time to dust off the draft cards.